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RUGBY REPORTS: A bridge too far for Tavistock, but Saltash II celebrate county cup win

TAVISTOCK head coach Joel Caddy admitted the Devon Junior Cup was ‘a bridge too far’ for his team as they were beaten 25-17 at home by Torquay Athletic at the semi-final stage on Saturday.

It was Tavistock’s first home defeat of the season and came just four days after they had added the Lockie Cup to the Counties Two Devon title they had already won by beating Devonport Services II in a tough final.

Tavistock were a shadow of themselves on Saturday and their midweek Plymouth Combination cup success appeared to have taken its toll.

But credit did have to go to league runners-up Torquay, who were really up for the game and never gave Tavistock any time on the ball.

“It is disappointing, but it was like two cup finals in four days,” said Tavistock head coach Joel Caddy. “And there were fair few lads hanging.

“If you were going to use an analogy that was probably our Arnhem – it was a bridge too far.

“Torquay were better than us. It was just one of those days.”

He added: “But I said to the lads afterwards that I can’t knock them and if the game had gone on another five minutes with the way it had started to swing, then who knows?

“The bounce of the ball just did not go our way until 10 or 15 minutes before the end and then we started to get back into the game, but it was just one of those days.

“But, at the end of the day, we have had a hell of a season.

“If you had said, would you like to swap winning your last home game for everything else? I would have taken everything else.

“And randomly we are still in a final next week.”

Tavistock will visit South Molton in the shield final, while Torquay will host Withycombe in the Devon Junior Cup final.

It was always going to be a tough ask for Tavistock against a strong Torquay side after playing in midweek and missing the likes of George Hillson, Jake Le Gassick, Charlie Brown and Seb Cox.

And they never got going until the final 10 minutes when they were already 25-5 down.

They made too many basic errors to win the game, like knock-ons and failing to find touch with a number of penalty kicks.

Torquay missed an early penalty to take the lead. Tavistock then had some substantial pressure on the Tics’ line. They opted to tap a couple of kickable penalties and then eventually had a pass intercepted which allowed Torquay to go relieve the pressure and eventually score a try through winger Ryan Hanauer. Mawgan Penrice added the conversion.

Tavistock did hit back quickly with a try from number eight Jamie Legg to reduce the gap to 7-5, which was how it stayed until half-time.

But within 30 seconds of the restart, Torquay had extended their lead with a try by centre Johnny Brown after a good rugby down the left wing by Hanauer.

Price again added the conversion and he also kicked a penalty nine minutes later after Tavistock had been reduced to 14 men for 10 minutes and another one 13 minutes later.

Tavistock were their own worst enemies. Three times in a row they missed touch with penalty kicks and then when they didn’t want to kick straight out from a drop-out, they did, giving Torquay a scrum on their line. From the set piece, Torquay pressed before switching it right and there was winger Matt Allanson to cross the whitewash and make it 25-5.

Tavistock’s replacement did bring some spark and they finally got going with time almost up.

Jack Lewis gave them some hope with a try after Torquay had been reduced to 14 men, but they could not get another one until the final play when centre Connor Packwood went over.

OPMs are anxiously awaiting news on the extent of a neck injury sustained by young forward Aaron Trinder in the first half of their Devon Junior Shield final at Torrington.

OPMs were 12-7 up at Torrington after 27 minutes when Tinder, who had scored a try to go with one from Fred Smale, went down in a tackle.

Straight away there was concern for the youngster and the emergency services were called. First responders arrived and an air ambulance was called and Tinder was air-lifted to hospital in Bristol.

The the game was abandoned and now Devon RFU and both clubs are trying to arrange for it to be replayed, although both clubs have commitments next week.

Saltash II lifted the Duchy Shield by beating their St Ives counterparts 36-7 in the final at Falmouth on Saturday.

The Ashes were in defensive mode early on as they were denied possession by a strong and able St Ives XV.

But once they got hold of the ball, Saltash moved it well and were on the board after 14 minutes with a try through experienced fly-half Nick Blake. Full-back Ben Law added the extras for a 7-0 lead.

It was not until the 36th minute before the scoreboard was tested again when Blake went over once more having broken the defence from the 22 to run in. Law was on hand to convert for a 14-0 at half-time.

St Ives came back strongly at the turnaround and scored first with a converted try to narrow the gap to 14-7.

But as the game wore on, the Ashes stemmed the St Ives tide of attacks with ease and in working their way up the field and scoring through Dale Partington extended their lead to 19-7.

From that point it was one-way traffic with the Ashes adding tries through hooker Axel Nicks, prop Max Dennis and centre Devan Marshall to seal a fine win for a young side.

Plymouth Argaum and Plympton Victoria both held chairman v president games at the weekend.

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